Leo Varadkar, aged 38 officially became Ireland’s youngest and first gay taoiseach (prime minister) on Wednesday after a parliamentary win by 57 votes to 50, with 45 abstentions.
Varadkar had won the party leadership of Fine Gael earlier this month after its ex-leader Enda Kenny had nominated him for the role.
He addressed the Dáil (Irish parliament) after the election and said:
“The government that I lead will not be one of left or right because those old divisions don’t comprehend the political challenges of today.”
After the addressing Varadkar went to the president’s residence, Áras an Uachtaráin, where President Michael D Higgins officially confirmed his appointment by giving him the seals of office.
His first job as taoiseach has been to announce the members of his government.
By taking over the role of taoiseach, he wants to put a limelight on Ireland’s position in Europe and will face challenges such as the implications of Brexit on Ireland and the uncertainty at the Stormont in Northern Ireland.
“The government I lead will be one of the new European centre as we seek to build a republic of opportunity.”
Varadkar had made headlines earlier this month when he was announced as world’s first gay leader and there was a loud of cheer from the homosexual community all over the globe.
The former GP, a Mumbai native is of Indian-Marathi origin born to an Irish nurse and an Indian doctor. His victory was celebrated like a feast with sweets and music by his family in Borivali, Mumbai as he became the world’s fist Indian origin leader.
His sexuality and ethnic background portray him as a liberal leader of a country once perceived as socially conservative.